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Top 10 Free Things To Do In Brussels, The Heart Of Europe!


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Tildy Hine



Welcome to Brussels, the heart of Europe! This vibrant and historic capital city is not only known for its rich culture and stunning architecture but also for its many free attractions and activities. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply someone who enjoys exploring new places, Brussels has something for everyone without breaking the bank.


Belgium’s capital city offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication. From picturesque cobblestone streets to world-renowned museums and beautiful parks, Brussels is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. And the best part? Many of its top attractions are completely free!


So, if you’re planning a trip to Brussels on a budget, fret not! In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 free things to do in Brussels, ensuring you can make the most of your visit without spending a dime. Get ready to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history, marvel at its architectural wonders, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.


From the iconic Grand-Place to the quirky Manneken Pis, let’s explore the best free attractions that Brussels has to offer.



Located in the heart of Brussels, the Grand-Place is undoubtedly one of the most stunning squares in the world. Its remarkable architecture and intricate details make it a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit for any traveler.


The Grand-Place is surrounded by opulent historical buildings, each telling a story of Brussels’ past. Admire the majestic Gothic structure of the Town Hall, which dates back to the 15th century and serves as a symbol of civic power. Marvel at the ornate facades of the guildhalls that line the square, showcasing beautiful baroque and neoclassical designs.


When visiting the Grand-Place, make sure to look down at the intricate patterns on the cobblestones. These floor patterns are not only aesthetically pleasing but also serve as markers for the different market stalls that used to occupy the square centuries ago.


The square itself is a hub of activity, with vibrant flower markets, street performers, and outdoor events taking place throughout the year. In August, the Grand-Place transforms into a magical carpet of colorful flowers during the famous Flower Carpet event, attracting visitors from around the world.


Whether you choose to visit during the bustling daytime or experience the enchanting atmosphere at night when the buildings are beautifully lit, a trip to the Grand-Place is an absolute must for anyone visiting Brussels. The best part? It’s completely free to wander around and soak in the historical ambiance of this architectural masterpiece.


Manneken Pis

No visit to Brussels would be complete without a visit to the famous Manneken Pis. This small bronze statue of a urinating boy has become one of the city’s most beloved icons and a symbol of its quirky sense of humor.


Located just a short walk from the Grand-Place, Manneken Pis attracts a steady stream of visitors from around the world who come to catch a glimpse of this unique sculpture. Despite its diminutive size, standing at just 61 centimeters tall, the statue has captured the hearts and curiosity of people for centuries.


The origins of Manneken Pis date back to the early 17th century, and it has since become steeped in legend and folklore. According to one story, the statue was created to commemorate a young boy who saved the city by urinating on a burning fuse during a siege. Whether true or not, the statue has become an endearing symbol of the city’s rebellious spirit and resilience.


Don’t be surprised if you find the Manneken Pis dressed in various costumes or outfits. The statue is known for its vast wardrobe, with over 1,000 costumes donated by individuals, organizations, and even foreign dignitaries. The outfits are often changed several times a week, adding to the charm and whimsy of this Brussels icon.


While the Manneken Pis might be smaller than expected, it is still worth a visit. Admire the craftsmanship of the statue and snap a photo to capture this peculiar piece of Brussels’ history. And the best part? It won’t cost you a single cent to appreciate this quirky landmark.



Standing tall on the outskirts of Brussels, the Atomium is a remarkable architectural masterpiece that has become an iconic symbol of the city. This unique structure, composed of nine interconnected spheres, represents an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.


Built for the 1958 Brussels World Expo, the Atomium was intended to showcase Belgium’s technological advancements and scientific prowess. Today, it serves as a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of innovation and progress.


Visitors to the Atomium can explore its various spheres, which house exhibitions, displays, and even a panoramic restaurant. Take the escalator to the top sphere, and you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Brussels’ skyline. From here, you can admire the city’s landmarks and get a sense of its grandeur.


Aside from its fascinating architecture, the Atomium also offers a glimpse into the world of science. Exhibitions inside the spheres delve into various scientific concepts and discoveries, making it an educational experience for both children and adults.


While admission fees are charged for access to the exhibitions and certain spheres, the exterior view of the Atomium is free for all to admire. Take a leisurely stroll around the grounds and marvel at this unique structure, which is particularly stunning when lit up at night.


Don’t forget to snap some photos of the Atomium, a true testament to Brussels’ commitment to innovation and its place in the modern world. Even if you don’t go inside, the sight of this striking architectural marvel is worth the visit.


Parc du Cinquantenaire

Situated in the eastern part of Brussels, Parc du Cinquantenaire, also known as Jubelpark, is a magnificent park that offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Spanning over 30 hectares, this expansive green space is not only a place of relaxation but also a site of historical significance.


The centerpiece of Parc du Cinquantenaire is the majestic Triumphal Arch, standing proudly at the park’s entrance. Built in 1880 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence, the arch is a symbol of national pride and stands as a testament to the country’s history.


As you stroll through the park, you’ll be greeted by lush lawns, beautiful flowerbeds, and shaded pathways. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely picnic, a brisk jog, or simply to unwind and enjoy the serenity of nature.


One of the park’s highlights is the Autoworld Museum, located within the grand buildings surrounding the park. Car enthusiasts will delight in the collection of over 250 vintage and classic cars on display, showcasing the evolution of automotive design and technology.


Additionally, the park hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including concerts, cultural exhibitions, and sporting activities. It’s worth checking the park’s calendar to see if any exciting events coincide with your visit.


Whether you’re interested in history, enjoy exploring green spaces, or simply want to soak up the sun on a pleasant day, Parc du Cinquantenaire is a must-visit destination. Entrance to the park is free, allowing you to enjoy the beauty and tranquility it offers without spending a single euro.


Royal Palace of Brussels

The Royal Palace of Brussels, located in the heart of the city, is an architectural marvel that serves as the official residence of the Belgian king and queen. While the palace is primarily used for official functions and ceremonies, it is open to the public during the summer months, offering visitors a glimpse into the regal splendor and history of the Belgian monarchy.


As you approach the Royal Palace, you’ll be greeted by its imposing neoclassical façade, adorned with intricate sculptures and grand columns. Step inside, and you’ll be awestruck by the opulent interiors, with lavish decorations, stunning chandeliers, and intricate tapestries.


During the summer opening, visitors are invited to explore the various state rooms and galleries, which showcase an impressive collection of art, furniture, and historical artifacts. Marvel at the richly decorated Throne Room, admire the intricate details of the Mirror Room, and take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of the Ballroom.


While entrance to the Royal Palace is free, visitors are advised to check the opening dates and times, as well as any temporary closures due to official events. Keep in mind that access may be limited to specific areas of the palace, as certain sections remain reserved for official functions.


Visiting the Royal Palace of Brussels provides a unique opportunity to experience a slice of royalty and immerse yourself in the rich history of Belgium. Even if you don’t have a chance to go inside, a visit to the palace grounds is still worthwhile. Take a stroll through the adjacent Parc de Bruxelles and capture photos of the magnificent palace façade against the backdrop of beautiful gardens.


Whether you’re fascinated by royal residences, appreciate lavish architecture, or simply want to see where the Belgian monarchs reside, the Royal Palace of Brussels is a must-visit attraction that offers a glimpse into the country’s regal heritage.


Belgian Comic Strip Center

Belgium has a rich tradition of comic strips, and the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels is the perfect place to explore and celebrate this unique art form. Located in a beautiful Art Nouveau building, the center showcases the history, creativity, and diversity of Belgian comics.


Inside the Belgian Comic Strip Center, visitors will find a treasure trove of exhibits and installations that highlight the works of renowned Belgian comic artists such as Hergé (creator of Tintin), Peyo (creator of The Smurfs), and many others. Through interactive displays, original artwork, and informative panels, visitors can delve into the world of comic strips and gain a deeper understanding of their cultural significance.


Wandering through the museum’s galleries, you’ll encounter iconic characters and scenes, marvel at the artistic detail, and learn about the creative process behind the making of comic strips. You’ll gain insights into the popularity of Belgian comics both within the country and around the world.


As you explore the center, you’ll also discover the fascinating evolution of the comic strip medium, from its early beginnings to its modern-day adaptations in animation and film. From classic comic strip panels to larger-than-life installations, the variety of exhibits caters to comic strip enthusiasts of all ages.


While there is an admission fee to enter the Belgian Comic Strip Center, the center occasionally offers free or discounted entry on specific days or during special events. Be sure to check the center’s website to find out about any promotional offers or reduced ticket prices.


A visit to the Belgian Comic Strip Center is not only a treat for comic book enthusiasts but also an opportunity to appreciate the remarkable talent and creativity of Belgian comic artists. Immerse yourself in the world of comic strips, discover beloved characters, and learn about the impact of these artistic creations on popular culture.


Whether you’re a fan of Tintin, Lucky Luke, or simply curious about the history and artistry of comic strips, the Belgian Comic Strip Center is a must-visit attraction that showcases Belgium’s significant contributions to the world of comics.


Mont des Arts

Perched atop a hill in central Brussels, Mont des Arts is a picturesque garden area that offers stunning panoramic views of the city. Known as the “Mount of the Arts,” this elevated vantage point provides a perfect spot to admire the beauty and grandeur of Brussels’ historic center.


Mont des Arts is not only a beautiful park, but it also holds great cultural significance. The area is home to several renowned museums, art galleries, and cultural institutions. As you stroll through the gardens, you’ll come across the impressive Royal Library of Belgium, the striking Magritte Museum, and the historic Musical Instruments Museum.


One of the highlights of Mont des Arts is its cascading staircase, which adds a touch of grandeur to the scenery. As you descend the steps, you’ll encounter beautifully manicured flower beds, lush green lawns, and ornate fountains.


The garden’s strategic location allows for breathtaking views of notable Brussels landmarks, such as the iconic Brussels Town Hall, the majestic spire of the Saint-Michel Cathedral, and the enchanting rooftops of the Grand-Place. It’s the perfect spot to capture memorable photographs or simply soak in the beauty of the city.


Throughout the year, Mont des Arts serves as a venue for various cultural events, including concerts, art exhibitions, and even festivals. From live performances on the outdoor stage to open-air film screenings, there’s always something happening to delight visitors.


The best part? Mont des Arts is completely free to visit, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing stroll, a picnic in the park, or simply a moment of contemplation while surrounded by beauty.


Whether you’re a nature lover, an art enthusiast, or just seeking panoramic views of the city, a visit to Mont des Arts should not be missed. Immerse yourself in the splendor of Brussels’ cultural hub, and savor the serene ambiance of this stunning garden park.


Saint-Michel Cathedral

Dominating the skyline of Brussels, the magnificent Saint-Michel Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and a testament to the city’s rich religious heritage. This grand cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, has been a place of worship for centuries and continues to be a significant landmark in Brussels.


As you approach the cathedral, you’ll be captivated by its imposing facade adorned with intricate sculptures and stunning stained glass windows. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a sense of awe as you take in the soaring arches, vaulted ceilings, and the beautiful play of light filtering through the windows.


Marvel at the ornate chapels, each depicting different saints and biblical stories through intricate carvings and artwork. Admire the grand organ, which dates back to the 17th century, and listen to its majestic sound during one of the cathedral’s musical events.


One of the highlights of the Saint-Michel Cathedral is the breathtaking view from its observation deck. Climb to the top of the tower and be rewarded with panoramic vistas of Brussels cityscape, with its charming rooftops and landmarks stretching out before you.


Attendance at religious services is free and open to the public, providing an opportunity to witness the cathedral’s spiritual significance firsthand. The cathedral also hosts regular concerts and cultural events, showcasing its remarkable acoustics and providing a unique cultural experience.


Visiting the Saint-Michel Cathedral offers a chance to immerse yourself in Brussels’ religious and architectural history. Whether you’re a devout worshipper, a history enthusiast, or simply appreciative of stunning cathedrals, the Saint-Michel Cathedral is a must-visit destination in Brussels.


Take your time to explore the grandeur of the cathedral, delve into its rich history, and appreciate the masterful craftsmanship that went into its construction. Not only will you be captivated by its beauty, but you’ll also gain a deeper understanding of Brussels’ cultural and religious heritage.


Saint-Géry Island

Nestled in the heart of Brussels, Saint-Géry Island is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood that offers a mix of history, culture, and contemporary charm. This small island, formed by the Senne River, is a hub for trendy restaurants, stylish bars, and lively nightlife.


Saint-Géry Island has a fascinating past, once serving as a central marketplace in medieval times. Today, it has undergone a revitalization, attracting locals and visitors alike with its lively atmosphere and eclectic mix of establishments.


One of the highlights of Saint-Géry Island is its lively square, Place Saint-Géry. This picturesque square is surrounded by charming terraces, where people gather to enjoy a drink, socialize, and soak up the vibrant energy of the neighborhood. During summer months, the square often hosts open-air events and markets, adding to the lively ambiance.


Exploring the streets surrounding Saint-Géry Island reveals a treasure trove of architectural gems. Admire the beautifully restored Art Nouveau and neoclassical buildings, which house a variety of shops, galleries, and creative spaces. The neighborhood also boasts a thriving street art scene, with vibrant murals adorning the walls.


Food lovers will be delighted by the culinary offerings on Saint-Géry Island. The neighborhood is known for its diverse and international cuisine, ranging from traditional Belgian dishes to fusion cuisine and trendy eateries. Explore the narrow streets and discover hidden gems serving up delicious meals to satisfy any craving.


At night, Saint-Géry Island truly comes alive. The neighborhood is a hotspot for nightlife, with a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues. Whether you’re in the mood for a sophisticated cocktail, a night of dancing, or catching a live performance, there’s something for everyone on this vibrant island.


Saint-Géry Island provides a unique blend of historical charm and contemporary energy. Take a leisurely stroll along its streets, savor the local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere. Whether you’re in search of a lively night out or a relaxed day of exploration, Saint-Géry Island is a must-visit destination in Brussels.



Brussels, the heart of Europe, offers a wealth of free attractions that are sure to captivate and delight visitors. From the grandeur of the Grand-Place to the quirky charm of Manneken Pis, there is something for everyone in this vibrant and historic city.


Exploring the free attractions in Brussels allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history, marvel at its stunning architecture, and experience its vibrant culture without breaking the bank. Whether you’re wandering through the picturesque streets of the city center or enjoying the tranquility of a park, there is a multitude of free things to do that will leave lasting memories.


From the iconic Atomium to the cultural significance of the Belgian Comic Strip Center, Brussels offers a diverse range of attractions that cater to all interests. Whether you’re an art lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking to experience the unique atmosphere of Brussels, you’ll find plenty of free activities to keep you entertained.


As you navigate through the city, don’t forget to wander through the beautiful parks, gaze at the architectural wonders, and indulge in the local cuisine. Brussels has a reputation for its gastronomic delights, and there are plenty of affordable options to satisfy your taste buds.


Whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or simply want to explore the city without spending a fortune, Brussels won’t disappoint. From its historic landmarks to its vibrant cultural scene, there is no shortage of free attractions that showcase the best of what this captivating city has to offer.


So, pack your bags, lace up your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Brussels, where you can experience the richness of European culture without spending a dime. Discover the free wonders of Brussels and create memories that will last a lifetime.